An excellent interview with Mark Shepard talking about how he went about purchasing some land and turning it over into a productive polyculture that earns him a living, specifically focusing on how difficult it actually was. He uses great agroforestry techniques with special attention to planting annuals between rows or letting the animals in for pest control measures. I found this fascinating and very informative, real experience about the practicalities of what people call “permaculture”. If you think farming is going to be easy, sadly your mistaken.
“The only way to get a farm with no outside inputs is to imitate ecology. Imitating ecology is imitating your biome where you are. Having the full array of plants and animals that would have been there. But of course since we are humans and we have our own self interests, our food, nutrition, and economy in mind we pick the species that pick the best for us and we manage it like a natural system. And nature has never spent a dime on pest or disease control or fertility.”
This is a short clip of Geoff Lawton in Australia walking you through his land briefly showing you the formation of a food forest, he steps through time showing several stages starting from chickens on grass land to ten years down the line into a forest.
I guess the idea of this is to show low tech solutions that can be used to create an abundance of food around your property. It’s a simple system really that works with animals and nature to ease the work load when preparing the ground while getting chicken eggs and meat. It’s designed around the way a natural forest system works but utilises the different layers more fully by incorporating a perennials system of fruits and nuts. Accompanying the edibles are things like nitrogen fixing (legumes) plants, trees and fungi that work in a symbiotic relationship with one another as well as nutrient mining plants like say comfrey. Overtime a period of time and with little human intervention the forest develops with relative harmony and this type of food farming can really help provide you with something to forage from all year round no mater how much time you spend in it.
Having the money to buy fruit trees and things can be expensive but if you can’t afford it you can always say buy or borrow from a friends Apple tree while buying some root stock for not much money and grafting loads of your own Apple trees, in time you’ll have enough to plant a small forest. You might pick cheap bare rooted fruit tree’s in discount stores that you can rescue, worth a punt if your low on cash I say. To save a bit more money see what you can start from seed and also save (harvest) seed when ever possible along the way.
Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens, in South Central LA, in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where “the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys.”
“If kids grow kale, kids eat kale. If they grow tomatoes, they eat tomatoes. But when none of this is presented to them, if they’re not shown how food affects the mind and the body, they blindly eat whatever you put in front of them.” – Ron Finley
I found this quite a fascinating little documentary that explores a wide variety of fruit and the importance of biodiversity for our food security.
The title of “Fruit Hunters” is attributed to people who travel the globe looking for rare and endangered fruits in order to preserve them and maintain diversity as well as just to simply enjoy them for eating.
This also covers the issues of things like taking certain fruits for granted and some history on almost losing Bananas from disease due to only having on variety and they also touch on them trying to develop more varieties.
These food hunters speak on the “living libraries” they are creating for preservation purposes as well as bringing new fruits to people via markets etc.
Now check out part 2:
Documentary made by “The Nature of Things” for CBS, thank you.
The above is a clip from “Greening the Desert” with Geoff Lawton, located in Jordan.
Documentary about turning around and regaining land lost to desertification. Geoff helps turn a baron desert into a thriving forest. He talks us through the process of transforming the desert ground via processes that included things like desalination (desalting soil), water retention via swales, heavy mulching, planting legumes and many other things and they basically end up building top soil and in turn fertility.
This is the full documentary on the subject by Geoff: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xzTHjlueqFI
Also check out this Dutch Documentary “Green Gold” about a guy called John Liu who documented the Chinese rehabilitating large scale damaged eco systems (the size of the Netherlands), effectively stopping desertification:
John Liu’s full documentary that the above discusses, “Hope in a Changing Climate”: